Winter 2003
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               Winter 2003


 

 

 

 

 

 

[H]owling at the Forest Preserve

Two recent trips to our Kankakee Forest Preserve sites made me appreciate our wild places here in the county. In October during the full moon, Jean Hurrle led a Moonlight Hike at Gar Creek Prairie. The moon was so full and bright even the leaves couldnít block the light that led our way. My interest in seeing or hearing owls kept me listening for the owls I was sure were there.

Soon, in the distance, I heard a hoot. Some in the group heard a dog bark, so I said, "Listen!" "Whoís awake, me too" .... , a Great Horned Owl called. Soon it stopped hooting. I whistled a screech owl call and two owls answered back. We listened for a short time, the proceeded on the hike. The eerie sounds from across the creek and the lack of anything but moonlight spooked the evening as the season of Halloween was upon us. It was a good night.

Then Shannon Bayou was an evening to remember. The Aroma Park Fire Department was having their scary Halloween "Haunted Woods" walk to raise money for fire equipment, and this yearís production was perhaps the spookiest ever! We could hear the sounds and shrieks from the haunted trail, and the children were having fun roasting hot dogs and marshmallows at a campfire roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Down by the river, screams filled the night as the Fire Department volunteers worked their magic on those intrepid folks who wanted to be scared for a small fee.

Then came our turn to look at the wild things of the night. No script as to what might happen, as to what the owls might do. Sometimes we see owls, sometimes we donít. At the river bayou we listened and watched for signs, but no owls came. More shrieks in the night came from the Haunted Woods walk some 100 yards upstream. Still, there was something about owling that made the evening. Standing in the dark, looking up, no one spoke as we listened for the three common owls, the Screech, Great Horned, and Barred Owls. Yes, it was spooky and the children all had a good time. When the time came to listen for the owls, they were quiet as mice, (who probably learned to be quiet so owls could not hear them). A dark forest with wild things that call in the night and the imagination of the unknown canít be matched. As the children walked towards their cars to leave, many of them were practicing the calls of our three local owls.

----- By John Baxter

NOTES FROM THE URBAN FOREST

This past growing season has been a rough one for trees. Excessive rainfall in spring coupled with cool temperatures followed by intense heat, humidity and drought provided ideal conditions for disease causing fungi. To make matters worse the mildness of the previous winter allowed for many more tree-feeding insects to survive than normal.

What can be done to lessen the negative effects of the above problems? Basic hygiene comes first. The pruning of dead, diseased and storm-damage limbs improves both the appearance and longevity of trees. To not prune these provides inroads for rotting fungi and wood boring insects. Remember: correct pruning improves tree health; incorrect pruning hastens tree decline. A Certified Arborist is the best person to determine appropriate pruning.

Speaking of pruning, late fall and winter are the best time to prune. This is especially true of oak trees. Perhaps you saw the article in the Daily Journal about a disease called oak wilt. This is becoming more and more of a problem in

the Kankakee River valley. Previously this disease has been confined to the south side of the river, but this year I have seen it in and around

Kankakee River State Park on the north side. I have even seen it in Bourbonnais subdivisions.

 

 

If youíve got oak trees you should be concerned about this disease. In red oaks and pin oaks it is usually fatal, often killing the tree within weeks. It is also a problem with white oaks and burr oaks but usually takes longer to kill the tree. There is a preventative treatment that can be used before signs are showing on red oak but is not usually effective once symptoms are present. In white oak and burr oak, however, the same treatment can be effective even after symptoms are showing.

The symptoms of oak wilt include browning along leaf margins then working inward toward a green center. Also the outer sapwood shows brown streaking when the outer bark is stripped back. A certified arborist should make the diagnosis because there are several less serious diseases that may look similar. OR you may send samples to the plant clinic at the University of Illinois. Your Kankakee County Extension Agent may be able to help to determine the best resource.

Another tree disease on the increase this past season was verticillium wilt. This soil-born fungus enters through the roots and clogs the vascular system, reducing the ability of the tree to pull moisture from the roots. This does not usually cause the sudden death of the tree but usually causes scattered limbs and sometimes major sections of the crown to wilt up and die. Verticillium wilt is a problem primarily in

maples and ash in our area but dozens of other species of trees and shrubs are also susceptible.

There is a treatment for this disease but it is only effective if caught early. So check your maples, especially Norway and sugar maples, for wilting in late may or early June of next year.

There is much more that can be said of the plethora of tree diseases, and even more about tree-attacking insects. But I only have time right now to mention one more pest: the Japanese beetle.

Every year they seem to gain in population and last season was no exception. The one consolation, however, is that the damage these insects do by skeletonizing the leaves is not nearly as serious to the health of the tree as it may appear. Currently the best control of Japanese beetles is either to pick them off or spray every ten days while they are present (several weeks). A new treatment is being researched that may allow one treatment for season long control.

Well, thatís all for now I havenít meant to accentuate the negative with this article, but I felt it important to get the word out. All too often I get calls to look at trees that could have been saved, but by the time I see them the problem is too far progressed.

---- Rob Frothingham

Certified Arborist

Landscape Architect

 

 

 

Kingfisher

Megaceryle alcyon

 

 

 

"It doesnít have to be a big fire, a small blaze, candle-light perhaps ....

--- Ray Bradbury

 

KINGFISHER

Before you catch sight of this bold and active bird, you might first hear its dry rattling chatter as it swoops over the water. For days I had been hearing one along the riverbank by my house, but hadnít seen it. One bright morning I saw the little noisemaker ...except it was two! They were preening and apparently enjoying the sunshine in the chill morning air up in the maple overhanging the bank. I hear them early in the morning, along with the calling of the neighborhood crows.

There are 87 species of Kingfisher throughout the world. North America has one, the belted kingfisher. This one ranges from Alaska, Canada to southern United States, and winters as far south as Panama. In the Kankakee River Valley watershed, it may remain year-round. The birds are solitary rather than in social groups. I regularly see a pair of them, often perching on the Maple overhanging the river, or out on branches hanging over the water from partially submerged tree trunks. The female has a rusty breast band, otherwise they are blue-gray above with a ragged bushy crest and a broad gray breast band. They are large headed with a proportionately heavy and long bill. Their hovering and diving show some fancy flight skills; in fact they are built a little like one of the aerial stunt planes you see at air shows; blocky with short wings and heavy front end.

I also enjoyed watching a tree sparrow feeding on the seeds of the native grasses and wildflowers I had planted in my yard. These make a high energy diet for migrating birds that stop over in our yards along with this yearsí youngsters on their way to their winter nesting grounds. I watched one tree sparrow "capture" a tall grass seed head by flying at it and bearing it to the ground. It began to feed on the grass seeds now at its feet, when another bird approached. The resourceful one was having nothing of sharing however, and ran the other bird off. By then of course the grass stem, released when the bird was distracted, had sprung back upright, and I was treated to another display of the sparrowís in-flight capture of the grass seed head!

Source: Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds

 

INCREDIBLE JOURNEY

Slow down.  Take one slow step while inhaling a long deep breath.  Move your
next leg forward and place that foot on the ground while slowly exhaling.
Continue taking one breath in with one foot, and one breath out with your next foot.  Sooner than you think your mind may wander and you might be moving more quickly than you were.  Just bring your focus back to your breath and steps again and slow back down.  Don't let that discourage you, just recognize it and bring your focus back (I usually get a good laugh at
how fast/often mine wanders).

Concentrate on your breath and steps and think about your senses.  Listen to
the birds around you.  If a certain call grabs your attention then move slowly in that direction.  Feel the bark of trees and the leaves and stems of plants as you walk by them.  If the color of a tree's leaves or the
brightness of a patch of sunlight on the ground or a dark spot of shadows calls to your eyes, move toward them.  Realize what you're smelling, and can you taste anything in the air? 

Just slow down, let your senses be your guide, and let your breath and steps
follow.

I did this for a couple hours this weekend and was led on a pretty incredible journey, maybe it will work for you too.

--- Craig Armstrong

 



 

 

BOOK REVIEW

Organic & Beyond: A Campaign for a New Vision of Farming

June 4, 2002

A campaign in support of a new vision of farming was launched on May 30, 2002, with publication of Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture. Published by the Foundation for Deep Ecology, the large format photo book provides compelling evidence of the extensive and unnecessary costs, both human and ecological, of the U.S. system of industrial agriculture and envisions food production in greater harmony with human communities and with the natural world.

The organizations behind the Organic & Beyond campaign bring an impressive track record of research and advocacy on sustainable agriculture, pesticide reform and food safety. (A list of campaign partners follows.) Led by the Center for Food Safety in Washington, DC, the national and international campaign will focus on supporting strong organic standards and promoting local and small-scale agriculture that is biologically diverse, humane and socially just.

At the heart of the campaign is a vision of a new agrarian consciousness, one that enables urbanites to reestablish a relationship to nature, farmers and the land. Fatal Harvest's editor, Andrew Kimbrell challenges environmentalists to forge this connection in their daily life, "We cannot do this if we remain food "consumers," destroying and wasting our lands and farm communities. We must learn to be "creators" and truly see and understand that each action we take does make a difference."

 

Fatal Harvest, with its stunning photos and penetrating essays, is a valuable tool to educate consumers and decision-makers on the deep costs of the U.S. system of factory farming. With essays by a diverse group of poets, ecologists, activists and chefs that include Wendell Berry, Hope Shand, Vendana Shiva and Alice Waters, the book begins with a deeply poetic and provocative section on breaking the industrial paradigm, and proceeds to up-end the seven corporate myths of industrial agriculture. The total effect is a powerful vision of the bio-diversity and the cultural, social and economic benefits of re-visioning agriculture.

Monica Moore, Co-director of Pesticide Action Network North America contributes an article on the destruction caused by pesticides. Her essay celebrates the accomplishments of the world wide movement to reduce pesticides, and lays out an agenda to ban the worst offending chemicals, improve reporting on pesticide use, challenge genetically engineered (GE) food, and hold corporations accountable for the environmental impacts of pesticide and GE use and production.

Fatal Harvest's persuasive force and the campaign it supports, Organic and Beyond, are valuable new resources for the community of activists working for sustainable and just agriculture.

 

"A healthy farm culture can be based only upon familiarity and can grow only among a people soundly established upon the land; it nourishes and safeguards human intelligence of the earth that no amount of technology can satisfactorily replace. The growth of such a culture was once a strong possibility in the farm communities of this country. We now have only the sad remnants of those communities. If we allow another generation to pass without doing what is necessary to enhance and embolden the possibility now perishing with them, we will lose it altogether. And then we will not only invoke calamity--we will deserve it." -Wendell Berry

Organic & Beyond Campaign Partners:

Californians for Pesticide Reform

Center for Food Safety

Community Alliance with Family Farmers

Community Food Security Coalition

Food & Water

Food First

International Forum on Food and Agriculture

Land Institute

National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

Organic Consumers Association

Rural Advancement Foundation International USA

Sustain

 

For information on the Organic & Beyond Campaign contact:

Center for Food Safety

600 Pennsylvania Ave. SE # 302

Washington, DC 20003

USA

Phone (800) 600-6664 or (202) 547-9359

Fax (202) 547-9429

Web site http://www.fatalharvest.org

Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture, 2002. Andrew Kimbrell, ed. 384 pages. US $45 paperback, US $75 hard cover, discounts on bulk orders. Contact Island Press, 58440 Main Street, P.O. Box 7, Covelo, CA 95428; phone (800) 828-1302; fax (707) 983-6414; email service@islandpress.org; Web site http://www.islandpress.org/.

Article by-- Pesticide Action Network Updates Service (PANUPS)

See PANUPS updates service, for complete information. PANUPS is a weekly email news service providing resource guides and reporting on pesticide issues that don't always get coverage by the mainstream media. It's produced by Pesticide Action Network North America, a non-profit and non-governmental organization working to advance sustainable alternatives to pesticides worldwide.

 

"Over and over, we have to go back to the beginning. We should not be ashamed of this. It is good. Itís like drinking water."

--- Natalie Goldberg

 

 

 

One Small Step

A yard thatís gone to the birds

"I wanted to bring a little bit of the wild into town. When we moved to Cody sixteen years ago, our yard was a typical suburban bluegrass desertósterile, except for occasional urban species that have adapted to manís habitat: starlings, grackles, robins. We spotted only around ten migrating Neotropical songbirds the first year. There was no food, no cover, and no water. Over time I planted our one-third acre with a mixture of native shrubs, trees, and ground cover, creating something like an ungrazed riparian ecosystemóa jungle, really. This year we saw the one hundred twenty-fifth species of migrating neotrop in our yard. My neighbors think Iím eccentric, but Iíve proven to be fairly harmless. After ten years, one of my neighbors gave me permission to put native plants in the upper quarter of his yard, which joins ours. Iíve spent so much of my life in the wild. Now I just have to walk out the back door and there it is, two blocks from Codyís main street."

Fowl Facts
Migrating Neotropical birds have declined in North America by nearly 50 percent since the 1960s. One of the main culprits is habitat destruction. Humans can help by protecting wild areas and by adding water, natural food sources, and cover in backyards to create stopover sanctuaries.

Thanks to Karen Mockler for sending us this "One Small Step" idea. Send your ideas about making a difference to "One Small Step," c/o Sierra Writer/Editor Marilyn Berlin Snell, 85 Second St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105, or e-mail marilyn.snell@sierraclub.org. See "Editorís Note" in the "Letters" section for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pine Warbler

Dendroica pinus

 

 

"Imagination connects us with the web of power and the spirit in all things."

--- Jose Stevens, Ph.D., and Lena S. Stevens

 

"FIND A SACRED SPACE

     Sacred space is by definition the place where two worlds flow into each other, the visible with the invisible. The finite world touches the
infinite. In sacred space we can let down our guard and remember who we are. The rational mind may be released. In sacred space we walk from chronos time to kairos time, as we allow our intuitive self to emerge. "If the doors of
perception were cleansed," said William Blake, "everything would appear to humans as it really is: infinite...sacred space can be anywhere, is everywhere, especially when we are able to remain in an open, receptive consciousness.

-- Lauren Actress in "Walking A Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth As A Spiritual Tool"

 

 

 

Whitetail Deer

By Robert Savannah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreaming of another time ........ Not that long ago

Have you ever sat and dreamed back in time,

When the land was untouched, Indians camping among the oak

A harder yet simpler life they led,

Canoeing vast rivers, plenty of woods ahead

Sometimes during a full moon you can still hear their dancing and singing, many running deer Ė

Now, all the music has stopped due to progress you say?

God help us slow down before we waste it all away.

A.J. Ciaccio-Jarvis

 

 

 

 

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last updated on August 26, 2013